Harden exceeded his previous career high of 50 points, which came on March 19th of this year. He recorded his 33rd 30-point game this season and 9th 40-point game, which both leads the NBA. The Rockets' MVP candidate became the first player in franchise history with two 50-point games in a season, and the 10th player in franchise history to score 50 points in a game.
The Rockets led by 9 with 8 minutes to play, but it was a Sacramento 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 2 with 5:30 remaining. Harden then went on an 8-0 run by himself to push the Houston lead back to 10. After another 4-0 run, the Kings would not score the rest of the way.
DeMarcus Cousins was the other story of the night, recording a triple-double of 24 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists to go along with a career-high tying. Cousins missed Monday's game to rest multiple injuries, and there were talks that the Kings may shut him down for the season. Cousins shut down those talks with his play on Wednesday.
Harden scored 17 points in the third quarter alone, including 11 in a row at one point, and reached a new career high in points with 2 free throws with less than 2 minutes to play. It was the first game in NBA history where one player scored at least 50 points, while an opposing player had a 20-20-10 triple-double.
The Kings made this a game in the third quarter, taking their first lead of the game after trailing by as many as 19 points in the first half. The Rockets held off this rally, led by Harden going 8-of-9 from 3-point range, and Trevor Ariza adding 6 of his own from long range and finishing with 22 points.
The Kings were without Rudy Gay, who is averaging 20.9 points a game, as he sat out after suffering a concussion on Monday.
The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 51-24 record, and they will visit the Dallas Mavericks tonight. The Kings fell to 26-48 on the year and will host the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow night.